BlogA blog of our mountain adventures in Scotland, hiking, biking, rock-scrambling and more !
Mid-October and a fabulous forecast for this autumnal long weekend on the high mountains in Torridon. John was leading this event and here's his tale of the days.....
On Saturday, Carl, Vilma, Trevor, Ian, Hanne, Kaye, Ryan and I did a clockwise traverse of the splendid Beinn Alligin, in gradually improving conditions. True, it rained most of the day, but it got lighter, and the clouds eventually lifted enough just before we crossed the Horns of Alligin to quicken the heart rate at the prospect of the scrambling to come. Prior to that we had made steady progress over Tom na Gruagaich, (well, apart from my needing to retrace some steps after not paying attention when leaving the summit - Doh!), and past the awesome Eag Dubh before summiting Sgurr Mor, the final Munro of the day.
The rock was wet, but the scrambling is easy, and we took the chance to photograph Baosbheinn from the top of the first 'horn', as it was bathed in rain, light and then a beautiful rainbow. Liathach, Monday's objective, became ever more clear, in silhouette at first, then more and more defined as the air cleared. It was one of those days when you start off huddled against the elements in your Goretex, and eventually feel that you were rewarded for your effort as you descend.
Sunday was far better than the forecast of wet with increasing winds from 20 to 40mph afternoon. It was overcast, with bright spells, and light winds. The light was excellent, and the views magnificent. Carl and Vilma weren't joining us for this day, but we gained Ian, our new guide, who came along for the enjoyment rather necessity.
We ascended Beinn Eighe via the beautiful Coire Mhic Fhearchair, choosing to go steeply up the stony flank of Ruadh-stac Mor rather than the steep and chossy gully that is the 'normal' route. This is an unrelenting pull, but it gets you quickly to the broad ridge and the first summit. The stags were bellowing all around us as we climbed, and the coire had an 'other-worldliness' as usual. I love that place.
The route is then re-traced for a short while as you traverse the ridge eastwards towards Spidean Coire nan Clach, the second summit. We took some great pictures at the trig point that comes a hundred or so metres before the scramble to the summit, and then a lot more at the airy and spectacular summit itself. It's fair to say we were rather pleased with the views!
The descent is loose and eroded at first, but soon becomes an excellent path lower down, and we made short work of it, reaching my strategically placed van within 7 hours. A really good day on the hill, and I feel we have a few more fans of Torridon on our hands.
We were really excited about Monday, as the forecast was really quite good, so despite the heavy rain overnight, and the fact we set off to climb Liathach in waterproofs, our hopes were high. We had been joined by Lorne today up from Inverary. We were also caught up as we stopped for a snack by Steven and Jake the dog.
The initial narrow section before the steep pull up to Spidean a'Coire Leith had been dried by the wind, and we all balanced across that quite the thing, but as we ascended, the cloud moved in, and with it more drizzly rain. We realised with a heavy heart that whilst borderline, the crossing of the Am Fasarinen probably wouldn't be on. As we descended from Spidean on the loose and bouldery 'path' towards the pinnacles, the mist cleared though, and at least we got some great views.
The bypass path was fun as ever, with some new erosion in places that focuses the mind on the narrowness. Once we reached the point just past Am Fasarinen, we turned back eastwards and enjoyed some scrambling back up onto the final of the pinnacles. Once that was over, it was just a case of the long ascent to Mullach na Rathain, the final Munro.
The descent was uneventful, other than more bellowing stags and some beautiful light over Upper Loch Torridon, and we got down to the cars on guidebook time, a splendid effort by all. As we bade our goodbyes, the smiles told all the story you needed about what a successful three days it had been.
More pictures are up on our Flickr page !
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